Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Good For You

Last week Maggie wanted to come along to one of the boys' soccer practices.  This is commonplace in our house, everybody wants to go to everyone else's practice.  They either join in if the coach is willing (Eamon always practices with his big brothers) or they just practice goal kicks on a nearby field/shoot hoops on the basketball court/throw a football or play at the playground.  Maggie always picks the playground option, but she is usually the only one so I asked her if she was ever lonely at the playground but she said nope.  I invited her to come for a run/walk with me instead to which she replied "No thanks.  But good for you, Mom,  for exercising" and ran off to the monkey bars to perfect her swing.

"Good for you."

That phrase can have such a negative connotation.  When my coworker has a day off and I'm stressed about work, I think "Good for you, must be nice".  When I run through the neighborhood with the big houses and the beautiful lawns, I think "Good for you, but why can't it be me?"  When I'm out with the kids and somebody is counting all the little heads and says "Wow, seven?  Good for you" it's usually not a compliment.

House photos from my beloved running neighborhood

But that's not how Maggie meant it at all.  She was innocent and sincere, and was actually encouraging me with her "Good for you".  She wasn't jealous of me going for a run, she could have gone for one too.  She wasn't put out by my choice to run, she was just choosing not to.  She was literally glad for me that I got to do something she knows I like (and makes me a much nicer mom!).  How wonderful it would be if we could all just be happy for one another's happiness.  We all know comparison is the thief of joy, yet the tendency to compare and feel miserable after is so readily there.  There are so many times I scroll through Instagram and see mothers dressed to the nines or with beautifully decorated houses and don't feel happy for them, but disappointed in myself.  How can we stop these negative thoughts?

This one's even on a cul-de-sac


As the VeggieTales taught me, "A thankful heart is a happy heart.  Be glad for what you have, that's an easy place to start."  I literally sing that song to myself when I'm feeling stuck in the comparison cycle.  And it helps!  This is my process (which I use way more often than a grown woman should):

1. Think about all the gifts I've been given in this life - family, home, faith, job, school system, parish, etc.  Say a prayer of thanksgiving to God for everything blessing I don't deserve.

I mean, come on!

2. Find the truth in any situation that makes us feel jealous/sad/disappointed with ourselves.  For example, that gorgeous neighborhood that I can be prone to covet?  I noticed one day that they have wicked ugly town trashcans.  Which reminded me that they have garbage inside those homes and have to take it out, just like everybody else.  That amazing mom who looks perfect in photos?  She definitely took 100 photos to get that one perfect shot she shared.  I realize this is not the most virtuous way to live, but it's a practical tip for someone who struggles with this vice.  Or so I've been told ;)

3.  Finally, remember that this life is fleeting.  Seriously, what does any of this matter if we don't get to Heaven?  And when Jesus says "You've won the race, GOOD FOR YOU!" He won't mean it sarcastically :)

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Moms Who Have Gone Ahead

When I was hugely pregnant with my fourth baby and had a 4 year old, 3 year old and 1 year old running around, I remember thinking "How do moms of big families do it?"  It wasn't just a general pondering, I wanted specifics.  I needed specifics.  I found out there was a family with 6 kids nearby (hi Michelle!) and I remember telling Phil that I just wanted to go sit in her house to see how she handles it all.  Not creepy at all since I didn't even know her back then ;)  Now we're the best of friends and she has 8 children under her roof plus takes care of my two youngest while I work.  Amazing.

Like, how do you take a nice Christmas card photo?
But where was I?  Oh yes, I wanted a glimpse into the secrets of parenthood, perhaps just some hope that these days wouldn't kill me and I wouldn't regret being open to life?  I wanted to walk side by side with moms who were in the same state of life so we could help each other and give each other tips and keep each other sane.  And then, Phil bought me this book for Christmas and I discovered mommy blogs.  Into my world came the likes of Danielle Bean, Rachel Balducci, Sarah Turner, Leila Lawler, and many others who don't even blog anymore.  These moms were so inspiring to me and so practically helpful with the day to day stuff.  I remember one blogger who wrote that when she feeds her kids waffles, she piles up a few waffles together and then cuts them into bite size pieces instead of cutting each one individually.  Little things like that I hadn't yet thought of as a young mom and helped me in the moment.  It not only helped me cut the waffles faster, but it reminded me that other moms were doing these same tasks for their children all over the world.  As lonely as it can feel being a mom, it was a nice reminder that there are millions of us doing the same work.

Where am I going with all of this?  I don't really know except to say that blogging/social media used to be such a great place to lift me up in my vocation.  But now, I don't know.  It seems like the blogging world is growing smaller, with more people (myself included) spending time on other platforms or only writing for the paycheck.  I miss posts about day to day life from my blogging buddies: Dwija and Cari and Lisa and Sarah and Aimee and Aubrey.  I think the combination of our children getting older and losing the freedom to write all about the babies they used to be is a big factor.  Also, there are always younger, newer, cooler, fresh bloggers out there that can make us older classically trained bloggers feel antiquated.  Seriously how do they raise children in designer clothes and have gorgeous homes with DIY decor?  Good for them, but sometimes it leaves me feeling left out and let down (my own problem, I know).

But it's exactly the moms of older kids, who have walked the path with me or are just slightly ahead to warn me of any falling rocks, whose ideas and opinions I want to read about.  Don't get me wrong, I will always love the mommy bloggers of babies and toddlers, as I'm still in those trenches myself!  But I can't read a post from a mom of babies who claims to know the without chuckling.  Maybe that's precisely another reason why moms of older kids don't blog much - because we realize after all these years of parenting all these different personalities that we don't know ANYTHING AT ALL :)

Seriously kids, I'm just winging it.

I realize I'm just questioning where all the older mommy bloggers are without helping with the solution.  Maybe this post is enough to get my own behind in gear to start writing like I used to, back when nobody knew I existed and I could pretty much say whatever I wanted without fear of anyone actually reading it!  Sadly, I don't think I can write that freely anymore, since I have to take into account that my bigger kids know I have a blog and Phil's students have discovered it.  I feel like an old lady wishing for days gone by and not wanting to give in to the notion that the blogging heyday may have come and gone.

Friday, October 14, 2016

7QT: 12, 8, 36

Hello and TGIF!  Why I can't seem to blog unless Kelly has a linkup, I'll never know.  Blogging FOMO I guess!


Andrew turned TWELVE!  My second baby will be a teenager next year.  Excuse me while I mop the puddle of myself up off the floor.

Ok, I'm back, but still weepy, because look at this cutie patootie!  Can I just freeze him and his handsome little face?  Please?

Andrew wanted a Fitbit for his birthday, but I looked at the prices and didn't think a 12 year old who plays three different sports (and would constantly have to take it off for each game) would be able to keep it in his possession.  So the much more affordable Garman Vivofit it was!  He was thrilled!  In fact, Eamon used his birthday money to buy one for himself and they compete with each other every day to see who gets the most steps.  They totally put shame in my step game, no wonder they're so thin!

On his birthday, after track practice and soccer practice, we celebrated with ice cream sundaes and some cousins.  Andrew loves to be celebrated (unlike some of my other shyer kids) and we had already had a birthday cake for him a few days before at Brendan's Baptism party (because that's where all the people were) hence the easy sundae choice :)

Being the sports nut that he is, all his gifts were sports related...

He got "slides" which Phil and I remember being big when we were in high school, but we called them "sandals".  My my, how times change.

He also got an Under Armour sports bag.  He loves it so much that he doesn't want to use it and get it dirty.  Ha!

And of course, a Dude Perfect shirt because obsessed is his current state.  He's also getting this book once it's released.

We love you Andrew with the funny middle name!

2)  My babiest of babies is 8 weeks old today!  He enjoys nursing, pooping, burping, sleeping, and keeping his parents up at night.  Hey when you've got 6 siblings, when else are you gonna get some quality parent time?

His smiles are a nice addition to his otherwise stunned or crying faces.  It was touch and go there for a while, but we decided we'll keep him ;)


Phil turned 36 this week!  We went out to dinner at a local bar and took BB with us, cause he loves to get tipsy on milksy.  I always feel like Phil gets the lamest birthdays because it's the third birthday in our family within two weeks.  And we added a Baptism in that time period this year! I did bake him a lemon cake and gave him one gift, and he got one from his parents too.   Thank goodness being showered in gifts is not this guy's receptive love language!!  Can you guess which love language he prefers?

He's holding his Thanksgiving gift ;)

The kids did make him cards!


My friend sent me this as a possible Halloween costume this year.  So easy and clever!


Phil's sister who is a Sister came to visit us all the way from Texas.  She got to meet her newest nephew and spend time with her goddaughter, whom she lavished in jewelry :)

Declan decided to streak in honor of her visit, just to make her feel more at home.


2005 with only two kids!

We have totally skipped apple picking this year, which makes it the first time ever that I can remember since having kids.  What a sin to live in beautiful New England and not go apple picking.  Maybe there will be some pumpkins left somewhere this weekend if we can find time to squeeze it in amongst the 6 soccer games, two variety show rehearsals, and a funeral!  Eeek!


Fabletics leggings and Saucony shoes - love both!

Let's talk baby weight.  Not Brendan's weight, but the weight he left behind.  Due to the gestational diabetes, I was dieting for his pregnancy and only gained 14 pounds total.  A week after he was born, I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight (not my goal weight, but what I weighed when I got pregnant).  However, as soon as he was born, I started eating all the carbs and sugars I had been restricting, and now have gained weight.  This needs to go.  It's not really baby weight, it's just weight, and I'm not making healthy choices.  Plus, I would like to be able to wear my clothes again.  I have a physical coming up in less than a month, and I would like to have lost at least 5 pounds by then.  I've been running again during kids' soccer practices which feels so good, and I've started eating healthier (modified THM diet) and not devouring chocolate and chips at night.  

New evening activity: Running not eating :)

If anyone has any tips on trying to lose weight without affecting milk supply, I would love to hear them!

Have a happy Soccer Playing, Pumpkin Picking, Football Watching kind of weekend everybody!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

The Baptism of Brendan Joseph

Oh baptisms, you get me every time.  That part when, as parents, you promise to raise your child in the faith, is such a beautiful yet daunting task!  After weeks of newborn sleep deprivation and dirty diapers and countless feedings ~ it snaps me right back to what's important.  This is not our child but a child of God's and we are just blessed to try and get him back to Him.  

Phil's parents and two of his sisters were able to come up from Maryland to celebrate with us, and Phil's dad is very handily a Deacon who administered the sacrament to our 7th baby, Brendan Joseph. 


Our three eldest served at the Mass and then again at the Baptism following.  What a gift.

Deacon Gramps was a champ through the whole thing even while a mischievous Declan ran around the church, unable to be tamed.  Oh, two year olds, they can humble the most prideful of mothers :)

It cracks me up that Brendan's moment of Baptism is being blocked by Alexander's big head.  Such is the life of the seventh child, I suppose!

TOTALLY NOT THEOLOGICAL, but I loved that flyaway cardigan I was wearing.  So flowy, so flattering, so forgiving.  The 3 F's of fashion after children.  I went back and got another one.  OK, back to the sacrament at hand...

Brendan's godparents were so cute and lit the Baptismal candle together.  They are not married so it made me laugh because it looked romantical.  That's my brother-in-law, Bill and our "god-daughter" Haley.

Deacon Gramps blessed both myself and Phil as part of the Baptism, and seeing Phil's dad bless his son and his grandson always makes me tear up.  Good thing you can't see me face ;)

And that was a wrap!  Welcome to the Catholic Church Brendan Joseph Martin!  You've got a crazy family that adores you and godparents that are amazing, so you can only go up from here!

Paternal grandparents

Maternal grandparents

Then we all headed over to the school cafeteria to paaaaartaaaay:

Lots of family, friends, and food.  The 3 F's of partying.


 There was even an Irish step performance :)

I'm so so so grateful for all the gifts in my life, and there's nothing like the grace of a sacrament to remind me of that.